Miss Bix & The Blues Fix – We Don’t Own The Blues
Self-Release – 2019
13 tracks; 55 minutes
Miss Bix is Leslie Bixler and she has already had a varied career. After issuing a debut record in the smooth jazz world (under her maiden name Leslie Letven) she and husband Bill Bixler moved to LA and recorded another album which they sold at gigs. When they started a family Leslie became interested in creating children’s music and her songs attracted the interest of Dick Van Dyke and Chad Smith, drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose child was in the same school class. Two albums of children’s music followed and Leslie toured with Dick and Chad to promote them. After her son grew up Leslie looked to make a new musical start and spent several months in Clarksdale where she soaked up the blues heritage of the area, this album being the result.
Leslie worked closely with Ralph Carter whose CV includes a stint with Sugaray Rayford. Ralph co-produced, recorded and engineered the album, as well as playing bass, guitar, keys and drums. Leslie handles all the vocals with Ralph adding some background vocals. Other musicians featured include Gary Mallaber (Steve Miller) on drums (Chad Smith plays on one track), John ‘JT’ Thomas (Bruce Hornsby) on keys, Brian Calway and RJ Mischo on harp and Franck Goldwasser (Mannish Boys) on guitar. Leslie wrote all the material, Ralph contributing to two songs.
Some songs here certainly reflect aspects of the Delta with “Voodoo Man” having a spooky feel accentuated by the slide and harp. “Black Widow” finds Leslie seeking revenge for being mistreated by a man and you can believe the threat contained in the words while in “Slave To The Grave” she confirms that she will not be staying in a doomed relationship for the long term. The lively “If You’re Doing What I’m Thinking” benefits from Frank’s stinging guitar and RJ’s harp work whilst still hitting home lyrically. Indeed, several songs are on the theme of women being mistreated and Leslie dedicates the album to “women everywhere who have been silenced, trivialized, shamed or excluded”.
The title track has some good piano by Ralph and keening harp by Brian as Leslie accepts that the pain we cause each other is far from unique and JT plays beautifully on both piano and B3 on the heartbreak ballad “It Wasn’t Me”, another tale of infidelity. Husband Bill makes his only contribution on “Baby Come Back”, playing saxophone alongside Franck who comes to the fore with a good solo, the larger ensemble making this one of the stronger tracks here.
Leslie has a definite style to her vocals and sings the lyrics clearly so the themes she wants to discuss are clear.